A RARE 1,200-year-old coin found in Hampshire is set to fetch about £700 at an auction next week.

The silver penny, found by a metal detectorist at Broughton in January, was made at the Canterbury Mint some time between 796 and 821, during the reign of Coenwulf, King of Mercia.

It is now expected to sell for between £600 and £800 when it is auctioned at Spink in Bloomsbury, London, next Wednesday.

The coin may have lain in the earth undisturbed for more than 1,000 years.

Auctioneers Spink describe the coin as “a field find” and although it has “soil deposits in recesses and minor flan distortion” it is in “otherwise good very fine” condition.

The penny is a Tribtrach type, so-called because of its distinctive design featuring three lines meeting at the centre.

The coin also features the name of Ethelmod, the so-called moneyer whose job it was to check the weight, fineness and purity of Canterbury coins during the reign of Coenwulf.

Few of this type of penny are known to have survived.

Gregory Edmund, a specialist in the coins department at Spink, said: “Currently about two dozen examples of this particular type by the moneyer Ethelmod of the mint at Canterbury are recorded in the latest publications on the coinage of this period.”

One hundred years before the coin was made, Anglo-Saxon King Ine built a new town in Hampshire which later became known as Southampton.

For 300 years, between 600 and 900 AD, Mercia dominated England south of the Humber.

The greatest and most powerful of all Mercian Kings was Offa, who proclaimed himself ‘King of the English’, built Offa’s Dyke on the England-Wales border and introduced the silver penny.

When Offa died on July 29, 796, he was succeeded by his son, Ecgfrith, who died only five months later on December 17, 796, when he was succeeded by Coenwulf, in whose 25-year reign the Broughton penny was made.

In 2001, a gold coin bearing Coenwulf’s name was found at Biggleswade, Bedfordshire and became only the eighth known Anglo-Saxon gold coin.

It was sold at Spink, in London ,in 2004 for £230,000.

In February 2006, the British Museum bought the coin for £357,832 briefly making it the most expensive British coin.